American Refugees

A couple of weeks ago I heard someone on a radio newscast suggesting it was perhaps necessary to call out the army to deal with the problem. I’m surprised no-one is suggesting it is time to build a wall across the border.

Maybe that suggestion has been made, and I missed it. The question remains though: how does Canada deal with the thousands of refugees streaming across our border.

If that statement caused you to look at a map, I understand. There really is only one border, and yes, so far in 2017 more than 2,000 people have entered Canada illegally from the United States. Once here they claim refugee status.

You can see why this is a problem. Under international law, someone fleeing conflict must seek refugee status in the first safe country they arrive in. No-one seriously suggests, even those politically opposed to the current American president, that the people crossing the border are in imminent danger in the United States. That makes them migrants, not refugees. Or to put it harshly, they are queue jumpers attempting to circumvent the Canadian immigration process. If they had shown up at a border crossing seeking admission by claiming to be refugees they would have been turned away.

Instead they have been taking their chances at long walks over hostile terrain in a cold Canadian winter. The stories would tug at your heartstrings. With the weather warming up I expect the numbers will increase.

So what are we supposed to do? From what I have read, most if not all of these border crossers had legal status in the US; it is not as if they fled to escape possible deportation to a war zone. It would seem therefore that these people are more economic migrants, coming to Canada in search of a better life. I can understand that. With all due respect to my American friends, life is on the whole better here, even with our winters.

Canada, like all countries, needs immigration. Immigrants are the yeast that makes our national bread rise. But Canada, like other countries, seeks to control and limit immigration, partly to control the social order. Some see that as racist; I understand that view but question such assumptions. Maybe we need to have a national dialogue on immigration, but that isn’t going to happen. These days there is too much name calling; no-one wants to be called racist, so they just shut up. Valid concerns are therefore not addressed.

I think open borders would cause more problems than not.  I would imagine the majority of Canadians would agree with me. I don’t know what the solution is at the borders, but I am all for sending back the people who have crossed into Canada illegally from the US. I don’t think that makes me heartless, just someone who thinks borders, even undefended ones, are there for a reason.

For anyone thinking about coming to Canada illegally, I suggest you reconsider. If you want to have a good relationship, breaking our laws as your first move is not a good idea.

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